News / Health

Study: Health Disparities 'Could be Eliminated in a Generation'

FILE - A man, who did not want to be identified, lies in a ward that specializes in AIDS treatment at a hospital in Dakar, Senegal.
FILE - A man, who did not want to be identified, lies in a ward that specializes in AIDS treatment at a hospital in Dakar, Senegal.
Reuters
— Health disparities between rich and poor nations could be banished in a generation by investment in research, vaccines and drugs to combat diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, global health experts said on Tuesday.
 
In a report setting out a plan for a “grand convergence” in health, the experts said world leaders needed to press for a concerted increase in research and development (R&D) investment to develop new medicines, vaccines and health technologies.
 
“For the first time in human history, we are on the verge of being able to achieve a milestone for humanity: eliminating major health inequalities...so that every person on earth has an equal chance at a healthy and productive life,” said Larry Summers, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary who co-chaired a commission on global health.
 
The report also recommended taking bold preventative steps in public health, such as increasing taxes on tobacco and other substances that can be harmful, like alcohol and sugar.
 
Taking China as an example, it said a 50 percent tax on tobacco could prevent 20 million premature deaths and generate an extra $20 billion annually over the next 50 years.
 
Summers said effective drugs and vaccines now available “make reaching this milestone affordable” and urged world leaders to take on what he called “our generation's unique opportunity to invest in making this vision real”.
 
The report, called “Global Health 2035: A World Converging within a Generation” was written by 25 leading international health experts and economists, chaired by Summers, of Harvard University, and published in The Lancet health journal.
 
It said spending should be prioritized in key areas, including aggressively scaling up new and existing medicines and policies for HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases and maternal and child health.
 
The report's authors said that if their recommendations were followed, roughly 10 million lives could be saved in low-income and middle-income countries in the year 2035 alone - progress that would bring enormous social and economic gains for the countries most affected.
 
To get to such a point, global investment in R&D needs to be at least doubled, the experts said, from around $3 billion a year now to $6 billion by 2020. Half of that increased investment would need to come from middle-income countries.
 
“The role of international assistance, while still vital, is going to increasingly emphasize scientific research, provide templates and models that can be emulated, and focus on development of techniques and dissemination of information,” Summers said in a statement issued with the report.
 
He said while aid would remain critical it should become “less about financial support to individual countries and more about the provision of global public goods”.
 
Richard Horton, The Lancet's editor and another of the report's authors, said the world should recognize that investing in health is also an investment in prosperity, social and financial protection, and national security.
 
“Investing in health means investing in a quality human beings value deeply, but which we do not capture well in our usual measures of development,” he said.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid